Conference Countdown: No. 7 Pac-10


Pre-season Awards

Player of the Year: Klay Thompson, Washington State

started the 2009-2010 on a torrid streak, averaging 25.6 ppg over his
first 13 games. A volume shooter in just about every definition of the
word, Thompson’s game is based around his excellent shooting range (ask San Diego).
The rest of his game has developed — he’s a better shooter off the
dribble, he showed improvement getting to the rim and getting to the
line — but as good as Thompson was during the first few months of the
season, he struggled quite a bit in Pac-10 play. As the focal point of
every defensive scheme, Thompson struggled to get to the foul line at
the same rate and started forcing tougher and tougher shots. As he gets
stronger and continues to develop his offensive repertoire, there is
reason to believe that Thompson will be able to handle the defensive
focus this season. And as Reggie Moore and DeAngelo Casto continue to
improve around him, don’t be surprised if he gets easier opportunities.

And a close second goes to: Isaiah Thomas, Washington

is a dynamo. At just 5’9″, the lefty is a terror to keep out of the
paint. More of a natural scorer than a natural point, Thomas is strong
enough to bully his way to the rim against bigger opponents and
athletic enough to finish when he gets there. He’s a streaky shooter,
but when he is on he’s as dangerous a scorer as you will find on the
West Coast. Thomas, and the Huskies, were considered major
disappointments last February, as Washington was struggling to remain
above .500 in a very weak Pac-10. But Thomas played great basketball
down the stretch, improving his shot selection, limiting his turnovers,
and becoming more of a leader than just a scorer. Washington fans hope
that carries over into this season.

Breakout Star: Malcolm Lee, UCLA

are a few guys I liked in this spot — Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Nikola
Vucevic, and Reggie Moore, to be specific — but I think Lee is hands
down the most talented of that group. It also means that his first two
seasons have been quite a disappointment. Lee is talented, there is no
question about that. He’s 6’5″, he is athletic with an awesome first
step, and he is quick-learner — he spent much of last season playing
the role of point guard as Jerime Anderson continued to struggle. There
are some things Lee certainly needs to work on — his jumper has been
lacking, as well as his shot selection (when you shoot 25% from three,
you shouldn’t be taking a third of your shots from beyond the arc), and
he could use some strength on his frame — but this kid was predicted
as a first rounder before last season. If the Bruins can find some
stability at the point and Lee can slide into his more natural spot off
the ball, he could make a big leap this season.

All-Conference First Team:

  • POY – Klay Thompson, Washington State, Jr.
  • G – Isaiah Thomas, Washington, Jr.
  • G – Malcolm Lee, UCLA, Jr.
  • G – Reggie Moore, Washington State, So.
  • F – Nikola Vucevic, USC, Jr.
  • F – Derrick Williams, Arizona, So.

All-Conference Second Team:

  • G – Jeremy Green, Stanford, Jr.
  • G – Ty Abbott, Arizona State, Sr.
  • G – Allen Crabbe, Cal, Fr.
  • F – Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Washington, Sr.
  • F – DeAngelo Casto, Washington State, Sr.

Freshman of the Year: Allen Crabbe, Cal

past two seasons, Cal has been one of the most fun programs in the
country to watch simply because of the outstanding talent they had in
their back court — Patrick Christopher, Jerome Randle, Theo Robertson.
But with those three graduating, the Golden Bears are going to have to
rely on freshmen to pick up the slack. The best of the bunch in Crabbe,
a 6’6″ shooter that was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in
California last season. Known primarily as a jump-shooter, the rest of
his game really started to develop during his senior season. And with
the underrated Gary Franklin running the show, Crabbe should be plenty
of good looks this year.

All-Freshman Team:

  • G – Gary Franklin, Cal
  • G – Kaela King, Arizona State
  • G – Terrence Ross, Washington
  • G – Roberto Nelson, Oregon State
  • F – Josh Smith, UCLA

What Happened?:

  • Expansion:
    This will be the final season of the Pac-10. While the conference
    didn’t quite get the 16 teams they wanted by swallowing up the majority
    of the Big XII, the league did manage to add Utah and Colorado to their
  • Oregonian Drama: The Ducks pretty thoroughly embarrassed themselves
    as they chased the like of Brad Stevens and Tom Izzo and Mike Anderson
    and, well, pretty much any coach that you can name. Eventually, they
    landed Dana Altman from Creighton, which, all in all, is a pretty good

    That wasn’t it. Terrence Jones originally committed to the Washington Huskies in a press-conference with high school teammate Terrence Ross. But he eventually went back on that commitment and is now at Kentucky. He wasn’t the only player to waffle on Washington. Enes Kanter did as well,
    and he ended up at Kentucky too. Oh, and 2011 recruit Tony Wroten seems
    to be down Kentucky and Washington, amongst others. Anyone else think
    the potential matchup between Kentucky and Washington in Maui will be fun?

  • You gotta feel for this kid: Stanford’s Andy Brown.
    He missed his senior year in high school, he redshirted last season,
    and he is going to miss this season. All because he tore his left acl three times.
  • Arizona State has an eventful offseason: Rihard Kuksiks nearly left school. Kyle Cain originally signed with Rhode Island, but after he was let out of his LOI by URI, he ended up in Tempe. Carrick Felix, a JuCo transfer, originally committed to Duke, but then went back on that and he, too, is at Arizona State. Then there is Demetrius Walker (remember him?) who is now headed to New Mexico.
  • More UCLA turnover:
    Transfers galore into and out of Westwood. J’Mison Morgan is headed to
    Baylor, Mike Moser is off to UNLV, and Drew Gordon bounced to New
    Mexico. But Ben Howland also brings in some transfers. David and Travis
    Wear, the twins from UNC, will both be eligible next season, and
    Lazeric Jones in a JuCo player brought in to help shore up the Bruin’s
    back court problems. And Ben Howland brought in Matt Carlino a year
    before he graduated high school.

What’s next?:

  • Expansion:
    Utah will be joining the league next season, and Colorado will be
    coming on in 2012. The question is now how will the conference be
    divided up. It seems reasonable to assume that the league is going to
    go to two divisions — they want that football title game and all. But
    every school wants to be in the same division as USC and UCLA. Its
    quite the recruiting advantage to be able to play in Southern
    California every season.
  • Unpredictability: There is so much youth (there are 17 seniors in the conference. 17!!!!),
    so much turnover, and so much mediocrity in the Pac-10 this season that
    predicting this league after Washington at the top is nothing more than
    a crap shoot. While there may not be a ton of NCAA Tournament teams and
    lottery picks coming out of this Pac-10, what we can count on is
    entertaining basketball games and a wild conference championship race.
    The Pac-10 is going to be fun to follow this year.
  • Roberto Nelson: Nelson was Craig Robinson’s star recruit in the class of 2009, but he was never able to get academically eligible.
    Well, Nelson will be allowed to play this season. Can he help turn
    around the Beaver program? Nelson was also featured prominently in
    George Dohrmann’s book Play Their Hearts Out.
  • Who is that team in green?: I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t recognize the Oregon basketball team next season. New head coach. Four transfers. And a new court. Need I mention the Michael Dunigan mess?

Power Rankings:

  1. Washington:
    The Huskies lose Quincy Pondexter, who was the only first rounder to
    come from the Pac-10 last season. But even with that loss, U-Dub is
    essentially the only program in the conference that could be considered
    to be doing well. After a Sweet 16 trip last season, Lorenzo Romar
    returns everyone of consequence save Pondexter. The diminutive Isaiah
    Thomas will be back for his junior campaign to lead the Huskies back
    court. Thomas is a big-time scorer and playmaker and will be
    complimented very well by Venoy Overton, who is probably the best
    defender in the conference. Also expect big things from Abdul Gaddy,
    the second-rated point guard in the class of 2009 (behind John Wall)
    that struggled at times as a 17 year old freshman. Also joining them in
    the back court will be freshman Terrence Ross, a 6’5″ shooting guard
    that should be able to contribute immediately, and 6’6″ wing Justin
    Holiday (Jrue’s older brother), a lanky and athletic small forward. Up
    front, this team certainly has the talent, the question is whether that
    group ever reaches that level. Matthew Bryan-Amaning is a 6’9″ power
    forward with length and athleticism that will be counted on to replace
    some of Pondexter’s scoring and boards. Behind him, Darnell Gant and
    Desmond Simmons will be asked to play more predominant roles, while
    JuCo transfer Aziz N’Diaye will a shot-blocking presence, and very well
    could end up in the starting lineup. The front court depth took a hit
    when Tyreese Breshers retired due to injuries. Washington right now is
    the hands-down favorite to win the Pac-10. If they don’t, they have
    only themselves to blame.
  2. Arizona: In
    a wide open Pac-10, the Wildcats certainly have the talent necessary to
    make a run at the league title even with the loss of Nic Wise. The
    problem is that the majority of that talent is going to be freshmen and
    sophomores. Derrick Williams should be one of the best sophomores in
    the country, and will be even more productive as his post game
    develops. Senior Jamelle Horne isn’t the brightest,
    but he does have some talent and his ability to spread the floor will
    help create space for Williams inside. Solomon Hill, Kryrl Natyazhko,
    and Kevin Parrom are all sophomores, and their development this season
    will go a long way towards determining how good Arizona will be this
    season. Perhaps the most pressure, however, is going to fall on Lamont
    “MoMo” Jones. Arizona is known as Point Guard U for good reason, and
    MoMo is the one that will be taking the reins this season. MoMo showed
    some promise as a scorer last season, but he will be counted on to be a
    leader and a distributor this year. Joining him in the back court will
    be junior Kyle Fogg, who has proven to be a solid scorer and shooter,
    along with junior Brandon Lavender and freshmen Daniel Bejarano and
    Jordin Mayes. The Pac-10 is difficult to predict, Arizona even more so
    with their youth. This team could put it all together and make a run to
    the league title, or they could suffer from inexperience and finish
    below .500 in the league. Neither would surprise me, but the former
    seems much more likely than the latter.
  3. UCLA:
    Last season, UCLA finished below .500 overall and in Pac-10 play. And
    while they lost Michael Roll, Nikola Dragovic, and James Keefe as well
    as Mike Moser, J’Mison Morgan, and Drew Gordon to transfer, there is
    reason to believe that UCLA can have more success this season. For
    starters, there is Malcolm Lee. Lee has yet to live up to the hype he
    had coming into the program, but if he can iron out some of the
    inconsistencies he had last season, there’s hope that he can eventually
    fulfill that potential as a junior. Jerime Anderson is back at the
    point, although he has never lived up to his hype, either. Lazeric
    Jones, a JuCo transfer, was brought in to compete with Anderson for
    minutes and, potentially, a starting spot. Joining them in the back
    court will be freshmen Tyler Lamb and Matt Carlino. The biggest issue
    will be up front, as most of the Bruin big men have left the program or
    will be sitting this season out. Sophomore Reeves Nelson looks primed
    for a big bump this season. The tough, physical Nelson plays power
    forward like a football player and once he adds some post moves to his
    repertoire, he could be a dangerous player in the conference. Joining
    him up front is Tyler Honeycutt, who is more of a perimeter player than
    a front court player, and Josh Smith, a 6’10” behemoth. At one point,
    he reportedly weighed over 300 pounds, but the latest on Smith is that
    he is much better shape. Depth, inexperience, and a lack of size will
    likely be issues, but there is talent on this roster. Who develops —
    and how much they develop — will determine how good this team ends up
  4. Washington State:
    The Cougars lost six players to transfer, but only one — Xavier Thames
    — played any kind of significant minutes. The Cougars also lost
    starter Nikola Koprivica to graduation, but beyond that they return
    four of their top five scorers. Klay Thompson is the best returning
    player in the conference, a scorer that has developed a solid offensive
    arsenal based around his dangerous jumper. He can score points in a
    hurry. Reggie Moore had a very productive freshman campaign at the
    point, and DeAngelo Casto is one of the better big men in the Pac-10.
    Those three combined form arguably the best 1-2-3 punch in the league.
    The problem is there is not much depth on this team. They really only
    went seven deep a season ago, and with two of those seven gone, Bone
    did not bring in much of anything in the recruiting trail. Marcus
    Capers and Brock Motum will both see time, likely as starters. If Bone
    can develop a bench for this group, they have a shot at making an NCAA
    Tournament run.
  5. California:
    The Golden Bears are essentially in complete rebuilding mode. Their top
    four scorers — essentially their only four scorers — from last season
    all graduated, and sixth man Omondi Amoke was booted from the program.
    The leading returning scorer is Jorge Gutierrez, a scrappy, 6’4″
    off-guard known more for his defense than anything. That said,
    Gutierrez was a solid play maker and shooter the last two seasons
    playing a supporting role, meaning he may be able to elevate his game.
    He likely will need to, as the rest of the Cal back court looks to be
    freshmen. Allen Crabbe is a shooter and the reigning Gatorade
    California player of the year and Gary Franklin seems poised to take
    over the point guard role, while fellow freshmen Emerson Murray and
    Alex Rossi, along with sophomore Brandon Smith, will contribute
    minutes. The front court will be more experienced. Markhuri
    Sanders-Frisson returns, as does Harper Kamp, who get redshirted last
    season with an injury. Sophomore Bak Bak will provide depth for the
    Bears up front, and don’t be surprised is freshman Richard Soloman sees
    minutes with 7’3″ Max Zhang leaving to play professionally in China.
    Mike Montgomery knows what he is going to get out of his front court —
    size, toughness, experience, leadership. The question mark is the back
    court. How good Gutierrez, Crabbe, and Franklin are will likely
    determine how good Cal ends up being.
  6. Arizona State:
    The Sun Devils lost quite a bit this season. Derek Glasser, Eric
    Boateng, and Jerren Shipp all graduated. Victor Rudd, Demetrius Walker,
    and Tyler Rohde all transferred. That said, Herb Sendek still has some
    talent on his roster. He caught a break whenRihard Kuksiks decided not
    to turn pro in his native Latvia. Ty Abbott is a senior and has
    developed into a more-than-capable scorer on the wing. Jamelle
    McMillan, the son of Nate McMillan, should be fine stepping into the
    point guard void left by Glasser. Trent Lockett showed flashes of being
    a big time player as a freshman. That’s a solid returning back court,
    and we haven’t even gotten to the talent that Herb Sendek brings in
    this year. Keala King is the most highly rated recruit, a 6’5″ guard
    with a nice, all-around offensive arsenal that should see minutes
    immediately even if Kuksiks is back. Brandon Dunson and Corey Hawkins
    should also compete for minutes in the back court. The bigger issue
    will be up front. Ruslan Pateev is a 6’11” sophomore that didn’t get
    many minutes as a freshman. 7’2″ Jordan Bachynski also joins the fray.
    The more interesting prospects, however, are Kyle Cain and Carrick
    Felix. Both are relatively small, but Felix is a dynamic athlete that
    originally committed to Duke and Cain, a bit bigger, will provide some
    toughness and strength inside. If Sendek somehow develops his front
    court, the Sun Devils have a shot at a tournament berth.
  7. USC:
    The Trojans likely wish that this season was the one they would face
    the postseason ban, not last season. But as we all know, USC AD Mike
    Garrett tried to save Trojan football by throwing Trojan hoops under
    the bus, which is a shame because USC was poised to surprise quite a
    few people. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some pieces on this roster.
    Alex Stephenson and Nikola Vucevic both return, giving the Trojans one
    of the better front lines in the Pac-10. And while the Trojans do lose
    Mike Gerrity, they bring in Fordham transfer Jio Fontan, who will
    become eligible in December. Beyond that, however, the question marks
    begin. How will Donte Smith, Marcus Simmons, and Evan Smith handle
    expanded roles this year? Will USC’s recruiting class — headlined by
    four-star shooting guard Bryce Jones — be able to contribute
    immediately? Because if the Trojans want to have a chance at being
    relevant this season, they will need more than just Stephenson,
    Vucevic, and Fontan.
  8. Oregon State:
    Once again, Craig Robinson is going to have a rough go of it in
    Corvallis. Gone is the talented Roeland Schaftenaar and both of the
    Tarver brothers, meaning that the Beaver’s Princeton-style offense will
    be based around the talents of senior guard Calvin Haynes. Joining
    Haynes in the back court will, in all-likelihood, be redshirt freshman
    Roberto Nelson, Robinson’s prized recruit in the class of 2009 that
    couldn’t get eligible, senior Lathan Wallace, and sophomore Jared
    Cunningham. Also don’t be surprised if Chicago native Ahmad Sparks, a
    5’8″ freshman point guard, sees time as well. Up front, Joe Burton,
    Omari Johnson, and Daniel Deane all return, but the real star in the
    front court could very well end up being Devon Collier. A product of
    Bob Hurley and the famed St. Anthony’s program, Collier was a pretty
    heavily recruited prospect. Freshmen Eric Moreland and Chris Brown
    should also compete for time. the Beavers will once again have a tough,
    competitive team, but they lack the talent to be a real threat in this
  9. Stanford:
    The Cardinal finished second to last in the Pac-10 last season, and
    they will head into this season without their star Landry Fields, who
    is now a New York Knick. They do return Jeremy Green, the only other
    player on the roster to average double figures. Green is a 6’4″ guard
    known mostly for his ability as a spot-up shooter. Joining Green in the
    back court will be Jarrett Mann, a 6’3″ junior that led the team in
    assists as well as turnovers. Jack Trotter and Andrew Zimmermann both
    return up front, but beyond that, Stanford’s rotation will essentially
    be made up of freshmen — there are eight on the roster total, not
    including the injury-riddled Andy Brown. Dwight Powell is a five-star,
    6’10” center, and Anthony Brown is a top 100 two guard that should
    contribute immediately. Johnny Dawkins is showing promise on the
    recruiting trail, but he still has a while to go until this Stanford
    team will be competitive.
  10. Oregon:
    Good luck recognizing the Ducks next season. Ernie Kent is gone,
    replaced by Dana Altman. Mac Court will soon be gone. Leading scorer
    TaJuan Porter is gone to graduation. Jamil Wilson, Matthew Humphrey, Drew Wiley and Josh Crittle
    all decided to transfer, and Malcolm Armstead very nearly did as well.
    Michael Dunigan left the program amidst a potential scandel to sign
    with a professional team in Israel. Oregon is in trouble this year.
    Armstead is their leading returning scorer and creator, but he is
    really the only threat they have. Joevan Catron returns after receiving
    a medical redshirt, while LeKendric Longmire, Jeremy Jacob, Teondre
    Williams, EJ Singler, and Garrett Sim round out the returning rotation.
    A run to the top half of the league would be an impressive feat for

Charlotte head coach Ron Sanchez resigns after winning CBI title

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ron Sanchez resigned as head coach of the Charlotte 49ers.

Sanchez took over the 49ers on March 19, 2018, inheriting a team coming off a 6-23 campaign. In five years Charlotte went 72-78 under Sanchez, highlighted by winning the College Basketball Invitational championship this past season, the Niners’ first post-season tournament title in school history.

The 22 wins this past season are the most for Charlotte since 2001.

“Ron took over a proud but struggling program and carefully rebuilt it into a 22-game winner. He has led with class, dignity and devotion to our young men,” Charlotte director of athletics Mike Hill said. “His decision to step down from Charlotte was a difficult one for him and everyone associated with our program. We wish him and his family every happiness.”

Hill said the team has already begun a national search for a replacement.

“This is a bittersweet day for me and my family as I step down to pursue other opportunities,” said Sanchez, who came the 49ers after working as an assistant coach at Virginia under Tony Bennett. “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the 49ers basketball program over the past five years and I want to thank Niner Nation for its support. I will be forever grateful to my staff, players and the university.”

Marquette extends Shaka Smart’s contract through 2029-30 season

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MILWAUKEE — Marquette coach Shaka Smart has received a contract extension after leading the Golden Eagles to their first outright regular-season championship and tournament title in the Big East.

Smart’s contract now runs through the 2029-30 season. This is the first extension Smart has received since signing a six-year deal when he took over as Marquette’s coach in 2021.

Marquette didn’t release financial terms of Smart’s deal.

“In a very short period of time, Shaka and his staff have done a tremendous job of establishing a winning culture, both on and off the court,” athletic director Bill Scholl said in a statement. “Shaka’s vision for the program is focused on extended, sustainable success. The individuals who interact with the team on a daily basis are able to observe frequent examples of growth and the excitement around the program is contagious.”

Marquette has gone 48-20 in Smart’s two seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament each of those years.

The Golden Eagles went 29-7 and won the Big East’s regular-season and tournament championships last season after the league’s coaches had picked them to finish ninth out of 11 teams. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

Purdue’s Edey returning to school at NBA draft deadline; Kentucky’s Tshiebwe stays in

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Purdue’s Zach Edey decided it was the right call to go back to school instead of staying in the NBA draft. His predecessor as national player of the year, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, is sticking with his pro pursuit.

And Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.

The 7-foot-4 Edey and UConn guard Tristen Newton were among the notable names to announce that they were withdrawing from the draft, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to pull out and retain their college eligibility.

Edey’s decision came in social media posts from both the center and the Boilermakers program that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Edey, The Associated Press men’s national player of the year.

But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named the AP national player of the year in 2022.

For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) is returning after being one of four Huskies to declare for the draft after a run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.

The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) would remain in the draft.

The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.


TREY ALEXANDER: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.

ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.

EDEY: He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.

JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.

JUDAH MINTZ: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.

OWLS’ RETURNEES: Florida Atlantic got good news after its surprise Final Four run with the return leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a social media statement.

TERRENCE SHANNON JR.: Illinois got a big boost with Shannon announcing his night in a social media post. The 6-6 guard is returning for a fifth college season after averaging 17.2 points.

SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.


KOBE BROWN: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being an AP first-team all-Southeastern Conference pick averaging 15.8 points last season.

JAYLEN CLARK: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”

BRICE SENSABAUGH: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament due to a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.

TSHIEBWE: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

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Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.